Our always insecure egomaniacal man-child Twitter-troll-in-chief made a vague attempt today to deny his racist comments to a group of senators negotiating a DACA deal on Thursday, Trump attacks protections for immigrants from ‘shithole’ countries in Oval Office meeting:
President Trump grew frustrated with lawmakers Thursday in the Oval Office when they floated restoring protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal, according to two people briefed on the meeting.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to these people, referring to African countries and Haiti. He then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries like Norway [i.e., white Europeans], whose prime minister he met Wednesday.
Our Twitter-troll-in-chief Trump acknowledged ‘tough’ language but appeared to deny ‘shithole’ remark:
President Trump acknowledged Friday that he used “tough” language during a meeting on efforts toward a bipartisan immigration deal but appeared to deny using the term “shithole” to refer to some countries.
“The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish [bipartisan] proposal made — a big setback for DACA!” Trump wrote on Twitter. (More on this below the fold).
Spokespeople for the White House did not immediately respond to a request for clarification Friday. The White House had not denied Thursday that Trump used the vulgarity, first reported by The Washington Post and later confirmed by numerous other news outlets.
Our Twitter-troll-in-chief is also a pathological liar, which is well documented. President Trump has made more than 2,000 false or misleading claims over 355 days. You can add his latest tweet to this list.
One of the senators in that meeting with president Trump, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), calls bullshit on Trump’s attempt to deny he said “shithole countries,” and says the “gang of six” bipartisan DACA agreement is going to the floor of the Senate with or without the support of president Trump or GOP leadership. Durbin fires back at Trump denial: ‘He said those hateful things, and he said them repeatedly’:
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) fired back at President Trump for denying that he called Haiti and African countries “shithole countries,” saying Trump’s denials are “not true.”
“In the course of his comments, [Trump] said things that were hate-filled, vile and racist,” Durbin told reporters on Friday. “I cannot believe in this history of the White House, in that Oval Office, any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday.”
Durbin was one of several lawmakers in the meeting, during which Trump referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries,” according to The Washington Post.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump reportedly said.
Trump then suggested the U.S. should bring in more immigrants from countries like Norway [i.e., white Europeans.]
Durbin told reporters that Trump’s comments as reported by the Post were accurate.
“You’ve seen the comments in the press,” Durbin said. “I’ve not seen one of them that’s inaccurate. To no surprise, the president started tweeting this morning, denying that he used those words. It is not true. He said these hate-filled things, and he said them repeatedly.”
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Durbin told reporters that Sen. Lindsey Graham “spoke up” when Trump made the remark. He praised Graham for his “political courage.”
“My colleague [Graham] spoke up and made a direct comment on what the president said,” Durbin said, according to MSNBC. “For him to confront the president as he did, literally sitting next to him, took extraordinary political courage and I respect him for it.”
UPDATE: Sen. Lindsey Graham did not deny Friday that President Donald Trump called certain nations “shithole” countries, adding that he “said [his] piece” in response to the president’s “comments” at a meeting with lawmakers. Sen. Lindsey Graham: ‘I said my piece’ to Trump following his immigration comments (see Graham’s full statement). Two other Trump allies who attended the meeting — Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and David Perdue, R-Ga. – said Friday that they “do not recall” Trump “saying these comments specifically.” . Sen. Tim Scott: Sen. Lindsey Graham confirmed Trump’s ‘shithole’ comment.
Roll Call adds, Durbin Confirms Trump’s ‘Hate-Filled, Vile and Racist’ Talk:
As for the pressing need for legislation to address the status of the deferred action recipients, Durbin said his group planned to introduce its proposal next week, with hopes fading that Trump and those taking a harder line will sign on to anything.
“My thought that we might get a bipartisan agreement approved by the White House died yesterday,” Durbin said.
“I’m not going to quit. I have a singular mission, and the mission is this: to give these Dreamers and as many members of their families as possible a chance to be part of America’s future in a legal status,” Durbin said.
“If the Republican leadership has a better alternative, bring it forward,” Durbin said. “If they don’t, for goodness sakes, give us a vote.”
For his part the racist Trump says the DACA deal presented to me ‘was a big step backward’:
President Trump early Friday blasted the bipartisan deal to provide protections to young immigrants known as Dreamers, saying the version lawmakers presented to him on Thursday was “a big step backwards.”
“The so-called bipartisan DACA deal presented yesterday to myself and a group of Republican Senators and Congressmen was a big step backwards. Wall was not properly funded, Chain & Lottery were made worse and USA would be forced to take large numbers of people from high crime countries which are doing badly,” Trump wrote over a series of tweets.
Senators said Thursday that they had reached a deal, but they are now faced with pushback from both Trump and party leadership.
President Trump has gone from urging Congress to pass a ‘bill of love’ to protect the DREAMers to siding with the GOP immigration hardliners in the “mass deportation party” wing of the GOP. The Washington Post reported yesterday, White House: No deal yet on immigration:
Complicating the talks, Republicans released a flurry of new legislation in recent days designed to placate concerns of conservatives wary of a potential bipartisan deal — and to address the fate of hundreds of thousands of other people living in the country under temporary legal protection.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) and Reps. Raúl R. Labrador (R-Idaho) and Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) on Wednesday unveiled a conservative plan that would grant dreamers an opportunity to apply for a legal residency that would be renewed every three years [but with no pathway to citizenship]. Democrats and some Republicans reject such a plan.
The bill also would authorize construction of border walls and fencing; allow federal immigration and security agencies to hire at least 10,000 new agents; end the diversity lottery program; end the ability of new U.S. citizens to legally move family members into the United States; withhold federal funding from [sanctuary] cities that refuse to help federal agencies enforce immigration laws; and intensify use of the E-Verify system to check an employee’s immigration status.
The proposals have been previously rejected by other Republicans, who say that such a comprehensive proposal could not pass the badly fractured Congress and that the bill’s border security measures are too aggressive. Privately, aides to GOP leaders say the bill would not be able to pass in the House.
Way to waste your time kowtowing to the far-right, Martha. Keep kissing the racist nativist ass of your colleague, Rep. Steve King of Iowa, and his “mass deportation party” wing of the GOP. This undercuts your years-long attempt to cast yourself as a moderate Republican.
Let’s not forget that Trump said he wanted a government shutdown several times last year to engage in a confrontation with Democrats, because somehow he thinks it will work to his political advantage. He wants a government shutdown over immigration to play to his nativist and racist base, which is now plain from the events of this past week.
Elizabeth Bruenig writes at the Washington Post, Dear Democrats: Shut it down:
If Congress cannot agree on a budget plan by Jan. 19, the government will shut down. This isn’t the outcome anyone wants. But Democrats ought to start steeling themselves now: If the Republican majority’s budget plan leaves the “dreamers” in limbo, fails to supply desperately needed aid to Puerto Rico and coastal states battered by natural disaster, or allows the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to wither away, Democrats need to be ready to shut the whole thing down.
It is necessary to recognize the damage a shutdown could cause in the course of recommending, as I am, that the Democrats prepare to let it happen. If the outcome were sure to be harmless, the possible costs would be small. But the moral stakes of this budget negotiation are extraordinarily high. Taking a stand for dreamers, children and disaster-stricken citizens will come with a price.
Trump has said a shutdown could be politically useful for him, and Democrats seem nervous. It’s hard to predict, at this point, which party (if either) a shutdown would benefit: Republicans could wind up with the blame, but they could also gain from underscoring the notion that government is broken. As Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and a Post contributor, warned me on Wednesday: “These government shutdowns feed into a narrative that is not politically neutral.”
There are practical concerns, too. “The biggest impact tends to be on people who work for the government [and] are nonessential employees,” Bernstein said. During past shutdowns, nonessential employees have been paid after the fact, but there is no guarantee Congress would elect to do the same this time. Bernstein added that a shutdown would be “a ding to the economy” and “massive inconvenience,” putting all kinds of activities — from sorting out Social Security questions to visiting national parks to getting passports renewed — on hold. A shutdown wouldn’t grind daily life to a halt. But it would affect millions, with serious ramifications for many.
But there are potential strategic upsides for Democrats. For one, triggering a shutdown could demonstrate that Democrats take the interests and desires of the American people seriously. “The public wants CHIP, Puerto Rico and Texas to get relief, and wants to protect dreamers,” said Ben Wikler, Washington director of MoveOn.org. “Keeping all these priorities on hold in a perpetual game of kick-the-can doesn’t actually line up with what most Americans want.”
In an October Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 62 percent of respondents said Puerto Rico has not received the help it needs in the wake of Hurricane Maria; a November Kaiser survey likewise found that 62 percent of Americans consider funding CHIP a top priority — far above tax reform or strengthening immigration controls. In that same poll, only 16 percent of respondents said dreamers shouldn’t be allowed to remain in the country. Likewise, a Post-ABC News poll found that 86 percent of Americans want dreamers to be allowed to stay.
But it isn’t just the premise of democracy or the possibility of 2018 advantage that demands relentless commitment to these three causes. It’s ordinary morality.
The beneficiaries of CHIP, disaster aid and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals are innocent insofar as none of them brought onto themselves the statuses that have made them vulnerable. It is important to understand them as innocents at the mercy of a merciless faction; otherwise the harms they face might appear more morally complicated than they are.
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A shutdown would cause real problems for real people. It is, in the words of Wikler, “something to be avoided if possible, but not at the expense of fundamental priorities.” What is remarkable about the priorities at hand, however, is that they have no business being articles of compromise. These aren’t ordinary policy squabbles; they constitute a choice between America as a humane nation with democratic principles and America as a negligent sovereign with a dim future. The protection of innocents shouldn’t be up for debate. But it is. And Democrats can’t back down.
Prepare for a government shutdown next Friday.
UPDATE: The New York Times editorializes, “No useful answers on immigration will come from a bigoted president with a warped view of the world, and his nation’s principles.” Donald Trump Flushes Away America’s Reputation.